It's cold down here.
It's cold and moist. Wet enough to keep me trembling, but not enough to quench my thirst.
It's dark, too. All I can see is shadow and gloom and black. Where one ends and the next begins, I cannot decipher; but it matters little in this darkling world. There are others like me, or that's what I'm told. But who told me? I don't remember. I'm alone, but I know - somehow - that down here, there are others like me. Sometimes I think I hear them, crawling through the dirt, but out of defense I convince myself that it was just one of my own limbs or a hallucination caused by my thirst or by the consuming darkness.
I mostly stay in one spot. I think. Sometimes I stretch outward. Sometimes a part of me will break through a layer of soil, but only to find another layer of the stoney, moist dirt. I don't know if I'm moving upward or left or right or down or inward; but if I had to guess, my little movements involve all four directions. It doesn't matter to me much, not enough to figure it out. Little matters much down here.
I start to believe that this is the end. But to be the end, I suppose there has to have been a beginning. Only, I don't remember a beginning. There may have been one, like a dream, like a lie. But this place of obscurity and soot is all I know now. How many days have I been here? How many months or years or lifetimes?
But what about the World Above the Soil? They told me about it (whatever or whoever told me I wasn't alone told me that, too). They say everyone gets there at some point. And I wonder what it will be like for me, if I ever get there. I think about what it's like to breathe air through the sky and not to heave it through the ground. I think about what it's like to be nurtured by light and not the wet dirt. I think about what it's like to dance in the breeze and not be hunched and bent between stone --
No, stop. You dream, you dream, you dream too big, I hear. The World Above is for the green, for the decorated, for the others. Not for you.
But maybe, maybe I can get up there somehow. If I just reach high enough...
Ha, you don't even know which way is up. Which direction will you go? Which path will you take? You cannot choose, and if you do, it will be wrong. I told you, stop hoping. Stop dreaming. You'll just hurt yourself.
Alright. I know not the direction to take. But I know that in the soil I shall not stay. I will reach the land Above. I will thrive and I will be free and I will be whole. I will kiss the air and I will be held by warmth. But to get there, I will remain here.
I will drink from the ground. I will crawl through the dirt. I will tremble in the cold. I will make peace with the dark. I will stretch through the stones. I will heave air through the soil. I will remain here, I will remain here, I will remain here. And then, I hope (as I have nothing else to hope in) that I will grow. You will see: I will grow in the right direction, whichever that may be; and I will taste and feel and live in the World Above. I will get there, by being here. So I will be here, in all of my wholeness. I will be in the dark, cold, hardness under the ground because I know it is the only way to the life I am wanting to live one day.
So I will remain here - not stay here always - but remain here now. Though it appears as if nothing is occurring, I know that down here, growth is happening. I am happening. In the dark, in the cold, down here I am on my way to Up There. Above. I will rema--
And then the soil thinned out, and I'm not sure, but I think I felt the sun.